High school athletes’ college sports choices should never be rushed.
If you’re a student-athlete planning to sign a collegiate letter of intent, you know you’re about to complete a big milestone in your life. Athletic scholarships are not easy to come by and, for the most part, choosing a program to join is tough, too.
But no matter what anyone says about National Signing Day, no matter how big a deal it is to sign on the first Wednesday of February, one thing you don’t have to do is rush to meet that timeline.
Seriously, don’t feel bad if your decision isn’t as easy as that of the five-star, all-state athlete who got an offer from their dream school and caught the early February spotlight. There’s a reason our schools have no problem putting on similar signing parties every April for groups of kids that want or have to wait until later in the school year.
Take the time to get to know the coaches and programs better if you feel like you have to. Something that looks like a safe bet early on might totally change within a month for all you know. A coach could leave the program or you may learn something about it you don’t like. Some recruiters will continue to ride with you as you weigh your options, but others who talk a good game early on may lose interest a little too quickly for your liking and pull a fast one on you (I can confirm that does happen and has happened to athletes in our area). Maybe you just have a change of heart for no clear rhyme or reason. Sometimes you’ll even get an offer later in the game that totally works for you.
Your decision is ultimately your own and you should only make the move when you’re ready to. If you’re making your choice with someone else in mind (family, for example), be sure that program is one you’d pick for yourself even in a hypothetical situation where you’re not trying to be closer to someone or something. It’s always fair to ask yourself if you’d really want to be there should things in your life take an unexpected turn.
I’m not trying to discourage athletes from participating in National Signing Day by any means. It’s a fine goal to have. I’m just here to say there’s no shame in playing the waiting game if you have any uncertainties about your future within a program.